How did you meet your partner? We met out one night in Canberra, it was very random. I couldn’t hear him properly as one of my ears went temporarily deaf from an ear infection, so I just pretended to understand what he was talking about and nodded politely. After that, we just clicked, and the rest is history!
How long have you been together? Just under 5 years.
Do you have a proposal story? I specialise in nail art, and around December 2015 he kept asking if he could do something on my nails for fun. I didn’t think much of it as he has done nail art on me before, and he can be a bit random like that! We were heading to Wollongong for New Years, and on NYE before we left home, he asked if he can do a design on my nails, and so we sat down at my desk. He then said he didn’t want me to watch him do it, so I got him to grab my eye mask so I could relax. I thought he was just being strange, but when he finished his 'design' he told me to stand up before he took my mask off. I looked down at my nails which had “marry me” written across my hands (one letter on each nail). He got down on his knee and I just couldn’t believe it was happening then and there, I even asked if he was joking! Of course, I said yes, and we left for Wollongong and I was basically staring at my ring the whole time!
What was your wedding date? 22/06/17
Ceremony + Reception
Location? Dana Villas, Santorini
What made you choose there? I work in the wedding industry, and when the weather is nice in Australia, it’s my busiest time of year so I wouldn’t have been able to get time off to get married and honeymoon. We also didn’t want a large wedding, so we decided to go somewhere beautiful and invite only our closest family and friends. We chose Santorini because my father is Greek and none of my family have been able to go there, so it was really nice to finally get to see where he grew up.
How did you find it? I found the venue online when first doing my research, and just loved the look of their ceremony and reception terraces. The venue is a hotel on the Caldera so the views are amazing. We liked how we could stay there and have our ceremony and reception in the same place, which made it convenient for us and our guests.
How was the weather on the day? The day was hot and sunny, and the night was just perfect. We arrived a few days earlier and it was super windy and got cold at night, but on the wedding day, we were lucky that there was only a light breeze.
Was there a reason you decided to get married on this date? We were given a few options and to be honest, I guess we just liked the sound of it! Mid-June is also at the start of their summer, so it wasn’t too hot at that stage.
The Wedding Details
Theme? The word I often found myself using to describe the styling I wanted was “romantic”. Santorini is such a picturesque location on its own, so I didn’t want to overdo it with décor. It can also be a little challenging arranging it from overseas. I asked my florist for white and blush/nude toned flowers, and lots of greenery. An important aspect of the evening was the lighting, in which my Greek videographer suggested I get as the venue would’ve been pitch black after sunset! I hired a company last minute and told the owner to do what he wanted, I just asked for it to look romantic. He draped fairy lights along the back wall of the reception area and hung up some bistro lights. It really set the ambiance and was just magical!
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Pinterest and Instagram. I also wanted to see what other Santorini brides did at the same venue, and noticed a lot of bright and bold colours, so I wanted to do something a little different and keep it classic.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? My invitations – it was really hard to find something beautiful that wasn’t ridiculously pricey for such a small amount of invites (we only had to send out 12)! So I designed a simple invite and printed it on a thick card stock, and on the back, I painted watercolor roses that were slightly different on each one. Being a nail and makeup artist, I love being creative and used my invites as an opportunity to add my personal touch.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship? I had my closest friend of nearly 15 years as my Maid of Honour, Natali, who traveled to my wedding from LA, where she currently lives.
Groomsmen – who/relationship? Brett had his brother Chris as his Best Man.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
Jess wore the Anya gown with the diamond train and a cathedral length veil.
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I found that most typical wedding dresses, especially lace dresses just didn’t suit me. When I saw the KWH ready to wear dresses, I fell in love with the texture and beading. I loved their simplicity with that touch of edginess.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Instagram, Pinterest, and other wedding blogs.
How many gowns did you try? I’m not sure exactly! Maybe about 10 in total.
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? The Paddington boutique, Sydney.
What did you especially like about your gown? I have a very straight-up-and-down figure and found the cut and fabric of the KWH sequin gowns were much more flattering on me. I’m also quite petite, so anything with too much going on just ate me up. I also loved the sparkle of my gown, and when I tried it on I could just picture it glistening amongst the Santorini backdrop! I felt like a mermaid!
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Esther boutique
Where did you get the grooms suit? Grooms suit is Hugo Boss
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? I had Swarovski studs and bought my Maid of Honour some Swarovski pendants – I wanted our jewelry to be simple and elegant enough to wear again. Brett also gave me a surprise Tiffany and Co bracelet that I received on the day.
Where did you get your shoes from? Shoes of Prey
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? The veil was from KWH, and I had a hairpiece custom designed by Canberra milliner Tania Maras Bridal.
What advice would you give brides organising their wedding? It might sound a bit cheesy, but always try and listen to your heart (and your gut!) Do what you want to do, and surround yourself with vendors that you click with and have a good feeling about. Don’t get caught up in thinking 'this is what other people do' or 'this is what I should do'. It’s YOUR day, you make the rules!
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Try on a bunch of gowns and keep an open mind. Don’t look for a dress design to “hide” or “cover” anything, just try on anything you like and try not to overthink it! The right dress will just feel right when you try it on.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day.
Whilst not everything went to plan on the day, it was just amazing. Being on the other side of the world made it feel more surreal, we trusted that everything would work out and it did!
Photographer – Lauren Campbell – I had worked with Lauren previously where I was doing makeup for a wedding she was shooting, and I just fell in love with her work and knew that I wanted her to shoot my wedding one day. What I love about her style is how her images have a somewhat moody tone which creates a dreamy and romantic feel, and I couldn’t wait to see her work in a setting like Santorini. She really captured everything so perfectly, and looking through our photos it almost seems like she was everywhere at once – she’s a real ninja! I can’t thank her enough for traveling to Santorini for us and being so relaxed and easy to work with.
Florist – Fabio Zardi - the flowers I received were beautiful, especially the ceremony arch.
Videographer –Xavier & Anna Roussos – Olive Tree Films – amazing couple to work with. We haven’t received our video yet, but their work is just beautiful and it was a pleasure having them around on our wedding day.
First Dance – One by Ed Sheeran. We also took some dance classes so we had some idea of what we were doing, we saw a local choreographer, Ricky Castro who taught us some moves and who was also a blast to work with!
MC – Brendan McCormack, our friend who owns Perth Fit Fam did the best job as our MC!
Celebrant – Mr Kavalaris – the funniest Greek celebrant ever!
Menu – Dana Villas. Our venue was so accommodating with menu options, and as typical of the Greeks, the servings were very generous!
Cake – Alexandra’s Cakes. I asked Alex to create a simple vanilla buttercream cake, with “some kind of fig” decoration. I let her do her thing based on some inspiration images, and what she created was absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, we didn’t get time to cut it at our reception (and everyone was already so full), but we had it taken to our room and invited everyone over for the next 3 days for a slice, and ate it every day for morning tea! It was unbelievably fluffy and delicious!
Bombonieres – We had mini soy candles made by the lovely ladies at Mazii Collection. I wanted to do something special that our guests could travel with and take home. These also doubled as place settings as each candle had our guests’ name printed on the label. I took them over via carry-on, and they all made it perfectly fine!
Hair – Bella Hairstylist. Bella was so great to work with. I didn’t have a trial prior but wanted simple effortless waves, and she nailed it!
Make up – I did my own makeup ( Jess is a makeup artist, click here) and Renia Bledaki did the makeup for my mothers and maid of honour. She was so lovely to work with and is a great Santorini makeup artist with a lot of experience.